Gilroy teen’s charity clothing line secures funding

Gianfranco Filice, 17, wants to make waves and inspire social change with his clothing and accessories company Ripple. The Christopher High School senior said all net profits will go to charities like Living Water and Operation Freedom Paws.

GILROY—A clothing company founded by a Christopher High School senior, which donates profits to charity, will see its formal launch in October following a successful fundraising campaign on Kickstarter.
Gianfranco Filice learned Tuesday that his company, called Ripple, has received nearly $5,700 on the crowdfunding website to jumpstart the enterprise he’s been working on for four years.
“Everything has become a reality after all the struggles and the disappointments,” an elated Filice told the Dispatch Tuesday.
It was a sweet moment for the 17-year-old, whose success comes two months after a failed attempt at launching Ripple. During a Kickstarter fundraiser in July, the company reached only 26 percent of its $15,000 fundraising goal.
“As discouraging as that was, it gave me the motivation to understand that if I persevered, the end result would be that much sweeter,” he said. “I would have never imagined this is the way things would turn out.”
Filice created Ripple to inspire people to support social causes, from ending world hunger to homelessness, following his mother’s battle with breast cancer in 2012. The net profit from the sale of each Ripple product goes directly to individual charities, including Morgan Hill-based Operation Freedom PAWS and international nonprofit Living Water, which installs freshwater wells.
He hopes that each purchase will create a “ripple” of awareness and transform it into a tidal wave of social action. The company was born out of a desire to help out worthy causes and to “make sure the things we all buy count for something,” Filice said.
Following the unsuccessful July fundraiser, Filice reworked his business plan and secured a deal to produce the company’s t-shirts at lower cost, but with better quality materials. The company’s product line includes shirts, hooded sweatshirts, tote bags and smartphone cases.
Filice said he quickly realized the initial goal of $15,000 was too high and lowered it for the relaunch. The strategy worked.
“I’m happy for this little twist. I’ve been working on this for so long,” Filice said. “It finally happened.”
Ripple will receive its funding from Kickstarter on Oct. 5, which he said will lead to the launch of the company’s online store and spawn new partnerships with charities.
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